The luggage of choice for the most elite of travellers, since its founding in the mid-19th century, is now celebrating 15 years since its first foray into watchmaking. It was only a matter of time until Louis Vuitton created the ultimate travel timepiece.
Vuitton’s first watch collection – the Tambour – was inspired by Japanese taiko drums, and became known for using the 12 letters “L-O-U-I-S-V-U-I-T-T-O-N” on the case-band to indicate the position of the hour markers, as well as showing a penchant for the colour yellow. Quickly establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with, the company unveiled a number of iterations over the years with complications including chronographs, regatta timers, tourbillons and minute repeaters, as well as functions unique to the maison such as the Spin Time and the Mysterieuse.
With this credible collection under its belt, Louis Vuitton opened its manufacture in 2013 and its move towards verticalisation in production has allowed it to stamp a firm foothold in the world of luxury horology. But today (11 July), marks a new departure for Louis Vuitton as it explodes into the most modern echelons of watchmaking with the launch of its first “smart” watch: The Tambour Horizon.
Lightweight and compact at just 42mm in diameter and 12.55mm thick, the watch is available in three finishes – polished (Monogram), brushed (Graphite) or PVD-coated (Black). The watch head is available separately from the interchangeable straps – 30 created for men, 30 for women. Housed in the newly revitalised Tambour Moon case – and retaining all of LV’s signatures from the rounded shape that ergonomically widens at the base to the distinctive applied horns and concave bezel – is a new connected watch movement with 22-hour battery life.
Combining Parisian design and the hottest technology of Silicon Valley for the first time, the Horizon uses a trio of platforms including Google and Snapdragon, allowing it to switch seamlessly between continents and countries, reducing previous accessibility issues associated with China. Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Horizon is every bit as customisable as its famed, monogrammed bags and trunks, allowing owners to choose a typical LV dial design and even add their own initials. The stand-out face is the “smart” interpretation of the Escale world-time watch, which shows all 24 time zones.
While there is nothing new about many of the Tambour Horizon’s functions of the device – emails, alarm, fitness monitor and so on – several of the facilities are unique. “My Flight” is a setting dedicated to frequent fliers and keeps a wearer up-to-date with information on their departing flight, including real times, terminal and gate information and time left before landing. “City Guide” provides instant electronic access to Louis Vuitton’s celebrated travel books giving information on the unmissable highlights in seven international cities.
The watch head costs around £2,000, with straps starting at around £200. As is to be expected, this is one of the best-looking smart watches to date and, in Vuitton’s own words, it is: “Contemporary and connected – and at the same time both playful and luxe, with a unique capacity for personalisation – the Tambour Horizon becomes a powerful tool for the men and women who wear it.”
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon
42mm stainless steel polished case or stainless-steel brushed case with stainless steel polished horns and crown or stainless-steel polished case with black-PVD finishing; sapphire glass caseback with Louis Vuitton logo; AMOLED touch screen with 390×390 resolution; Water resistant to 30m
Interchangeable straps equipped with Louis Vuitton patented system (sold separately); stainless-steel ardillon buckle
Android Wear 2.0
Android 4.3+/ iOS 9+. Smartphones running Android 4.3 or higher, or iPhone 5 or later running iOS 9 or higher. Supported features may vary between platforms.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Brushed or Polished Steel Case – £1,905
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon PVD-coated – £2,365
Pair your Tambour Horizon with a strap (none included) of your choice, starting from:
Canvas and rubber – £235
Leather and Exotic – £360 and up